Holy Nights

Week 3

I was listening to a recitation of Surah Al-Qadr when I realized that it sounded somewhat like  a Christian hymn. I couldn’t remember which one it was, so I searched until I came across Silent Night. Listening to it made me realize that both Surah Al-Qadr and Silent Night are centered around this idea of Holy Night on which something was given to humanity. In the former case, it was the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad and in the latter case, it was Jesus sent to the people. For Muslims, Laylat-ul-Qadr is a special night of  power and for Christians, Christmas Eve is the single most celebrated night of the year. I started drawing parallels between the two nights of “descent” and the result was a poem which considered the similarities and the differences between the two holy nights.

In class we talked about references in the Quran to Jesus, Mary, and the Bible and how the Bible is one of the 4 books prototyped from the Umm-al-Kitaab. My poem draws on that idea and looks at the two holy nights as a similar tradition in two different monotheistic religions. The tradition of recitation and poetry in Islam and our discussion of the Umm-al-Kitaab in class served as inspiration to write the poem that I share below. In it, I try to incorporate elements of both Surah Al-Qadr and Silent Night so some phrases may appear familiar.


The Muslim Holy night
Is when everything is calm and bright.
Down was sent the Quran tonight
It is a night of great power and might,
Worth a thousand nights.

The Christian Holy night
Is when everything is calm and bright.
Down was sent Jesus the Savior tonight.
It is a night to remember the starry light
That blessed baby Jesus and enveloped the sight.

Two symbols so different
Two symbols yet so similar
Separated by people and separated by time
Brought together by Umm-al-Kitaab’s bright shine
A heavenly prototype
Is this really artifice?
It must be coincidence!
Or is it Providence?

Symbols of heaven so revered
One talks about the other
But in a century not so near.
Jesus and Mary, holy mother and her son
The Quran, holy book of Muslims
So different in their followings, their times, their form
So incomparable
Yet both held in similar positions,
Albeit in different religions.

Holy night:
Do you separate them or bring them together?
What will make us understand?
Ayahs and signs,
Saviors and revelations
All point to the existence of God
And when we celebrate you, Holy Night,
We fulfill the same wish:
The wish to become closer to the Divine.



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